Foundation for Shamanic Studies E-Newsletter
September 2009

Vol. 3, Issue 4
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The shaman's work is very practical. It's not mysterious. What is mysterious is our failure to take it seriously. People should have white coats and laboratories to give us truth? They should not be dressed with feathers? How could they know anything? They have the longest time-tested system of using the mind known to humanity. Psychotherapy is New Age. Modern medicine is New Age. This is Stone Age. This is not new. On all of the inhabited continents of the world, the native peoples rediscovered the same principles over and over again. This is why we should pay attention. It works. –Michael Harner, Achieving Personal Wisdom Through Shamanic Journeying, Vienna, Austria, 1996

Members of the Circle of the Foundation:
Please help us by
renewing your membership promptly and online, if possible. Paper mailings are not only costly, they hurt the trees – and we would like to spare as many as we can! Thank you.
Tuvan Petroglyph

It is heartening to run across an article like Watching Whales Watching Us, which celebrates the qualities, intelligence – and, yes – the emotions of a non-human species.

In the warm lagoons off the Baja coast, where whales come in the winter and early spring to birth calves, there is a history of whale hunting, nearly to extinction, from the not so distant past. But something mysterious is happening here in the present; whales have seemingly become very social, approaching boats along with their calves and interacting readily with humans.

Whale Tail
Marine mammal behavioralist Toni Frohoff was asked if "given both the dark past of human-whale interactions in those lagoons and what we've now come to know about whale intelligence, there could possibly be some element of knowing forgiveness behind their actions."
Frohoff responded: "Those are the kinds of things that for the longest time a scientist wouldn't dare consider. But thank goodness we've gone through a kind of cognitive revolution when it comes to studying the intelligence and emotion of other species. In fact, I'd say now that it is my obligation as a scientist not to discount that possibility. We do have compelling evidence of the experience of grief in cetaceans; and of joy, anger, frustration and distress and self-awareness and tool use; and of protecting not just their young but also their companions from humans and other predators. So these are reasons why something like forgiveness is a possibility. And even if it's not that exactly, I believe it's something. That there's something very potent occurring here from a behavioral and a biological perspective."
The scientists who study whales, who are open to the truth without prejudgments, are discovering in ordinary reality something that shamans experience consistently in nonordinary reality: Everything is one, everything is alive. The beauty of the practice of shamanism is that it provides the experience of unity – the deep knowing of the heart where we recognize all that is as kin – which is vital to true understanding and a necessary incentive to action.

Susan Mokelke
Executive Director

Submit your ideas and news for the Articles and Healing Words sections to the Editor.

My Windhorse <br>by Joy
Markgraf My Windhorse
by Joy Markgraf
Advanced Residential Workshops in 2009. The new 7th East Coast Three-Year Program in Advanced Initiations in Shamanism and Shamanic Healing will start October 11 - 16, 2009 in Madison, Virginia. It will be taught by Nan Moss & David Corbin. The East Coast Two-Week Shamanic Healing Intensive will be held November 8 - 19, 2009 in Madison, Virginia, taught by David Corbin and Nan Moss.
Announcements for 2010. Registration is now open for the West Coast Two-Week Shamanic Healing Intensive. It will be held April 12 - 23, 2010 in Northern Marin, San Francisco Bay Area, California, and taught by Alicia L. Gates. Harner Shamanic Counseling with April Tuck, will be held August 7 - 12, 2010 near Portland, Oregon. Check the website for details and registration. Note: The Basic Workshop, which is a prerequisite for all advanced FSS workshops, will be held in various locations throughout the year.

"Mandu" Manuel da Silva, the jaguar-shaman of the Baniwa people of the Aiary River,
Mandu da Silva,
Jaguar-Shaman Jaguar-Shaman,
Mandu (Chief) da Silva
northwest Amazon, Brazil, has just been named a Living Treasure of Shamanism. As reported in our last issue, the Foundation is honored to support the Baniwa project, which includes the filming and creation of a documentary record of the last jaguar-shaman's practice and knowledge; organizing meetings to discuss aspects of indigenous culture and shamanic traditions; and the construction of a shaman's center, which will serve as a catalyst for activities to strengthen and revitalize indigenous culture of the Baniwa people of the Aiary River.

Mandu da Silva was brought to the attention of the Foundation by
Prof. Wright Prof. Wright
Professor Robin M. Wright, who has been appointed as an FSS Field Associate for the Northwest Amazon. Dr. Wright has a Ph.D. from Stanford. He is an Associate Professor at the University of Florida, Gainesville, specializing in South American indigenous religions, Anthropology of Religion, and Indigenous Religions in general. For 20 years, Dr. Wright was Professor of Anthropology at the State University of Campinas in Brazil where he was also Director of the Center for the Study of Indigenous Ethnology. His principal research since the 1970s has been in the Brazilian Northwest Amazon, although he has done work in Guatemala and the Northeastern US (Six Nations). He has published widely in the area of indigenous religions and indigenous histories and policies.

Professor Wright has been sending regular updates about the Baniwa project. He says that "I must say that this whole project has been and is a very uplifting experience for the people of the village. What is going on is a revitalization - which is what we wanted to achieve in the first place." To read a few of his reports, click here.

Note: The Foundation is working to raise funds to send a representative and perhaps a videographer to the inauguration. If you would like to make a donation to support Mandu and the Baniwa people please click here. On the "To" line, please enter "Baniwa project." THANK YOU!

Certificates of Completion
Certificates of Completion are available to all graduates of FSS advanced programs in shamanism and shamanic healing. Certificates of Completion acknowledge the considerable time and effort involved in the successful completion of FSS advanced trainings in core shamanism, such as the Two-Week Intensive and the Three-Year program. Request your White, Bronze, Silver, and Gold certificates online.

The support of members of the FSS Circle of the Foundation
helps preserve the knowledge and practice of shamanism among indigenous peoples such as Mandu da Silva, jaguar-shaman of the Baniwa people, and the renewal of shamanism in a contemporary context. We invite you to join the Circle by making a donation. Receive exciting benefits, including the online Shamanic Services Listings (with a photo or graphic) and FSS Forum, access to archival talks by Michael Harner, and gifts of DVDs, books, and CDs - and support shamanism and shamanic healing worldwide. Thank you!

Members of the Circle of the Foundation
We invite you to submit a photo of one of your creative works related to shamanism. Periodically, we will select a few of these photos to post on the FSS website. Photos of works might include paintings, sculpture, drums/rattles, weavings, and photos of shamanic places, etc. (Submissions must follow the guidelines below.) Click here to view the video of some of the submissions. Share your work with us!

Guidelines for submission of photos of shamanic artwork:
1. Must be a member of the Circle of the Foundation;
2. Must be the creator of the work submitted and hold the copyright;
3. No photos of people, please, unless you have a written, signed release to publish the photo;
4. One photo only per person.
Please include your name and a one-sentence description or title of the work. Send the photo as an email attachment to the Editor, Susan Mokelke.

Newpaper Rock, Utah - ©iStockphoto.com/Jeremy Edwards
Graves of Mongolian Shamans Discovered near Soltanieh Dome in Iran
Several graves were found on a hillock beside an Islamic cemetery and this indicates that they had enjoyed high social status during the reign of the Ilkhanids, Mongol descendents of Genghis Khan who controlled large parts of Iran from 1256 to 1349, explains the archaeological team director Abdorreza Mohajerinejad. Read the article from the Tehran Times. Submitted by Timothy Flynn, Three-Year Program graduate, Royal Oaks, California.

Shamans Flourishing in Mongolian Capital
Banned for 70 years under Communist rule, shamanism was protected under the state's embrace of religious freedom in the 1992 Constitution. Now shamans – both traditional and self-styled with their own rituals and ways – are flourishing in the capital city of Ulan Bator. They are in high demand by the thousands of workers and nomads who lost their livelihood as the country attempts a market economy. Read the article from the New York Times online. Submitted by Timothy Flynn, Three-Year Program graduate, Royal Oaks, California.

Amazon Cultures Declining
As food disappears, researchers worry about a possible wave of cultural extinction among tribes that have long relied on nature. The subject is a sad one, but the person who sent the article to this E-newsletter notes:
This article in today's New York Times highlights for me the extreme value of Michael's (Harner's) work, and hints at how he is not just preserving ancient wisdom and knowledge, his teachings may one day become the sole pure awareness of traditions in great danger of dying off – if they haven't already changed beyond recognition.
The article also mentions Tacuma, one of the Foundation's Living Treasures of Shamanism. Read the article from the New York Times online. Submitted by Lou Judson, Novato, California.

Circle of All Nations Weekend
The 40th annual Circle of All Nations weekend, hosted by Algonquin elder William Commanda, was held on the Kitigan Zibi reserve in Gatineau Hills, Ottawa. The weekend promotes international peace and respect for the land, and reconnection with the spiritual. Read the Article from the Ottawa Citizen. Submitted by Timothy Flynn, Three-Year Program graduate, Royal Oaks, California.

SUBMIT NEWS: We invite you to submit news about shamanism for our readers. Please submit no more than a few brief paragraphs, including the source of the news item to the Editor.

Cave of the Hands Cave of the Hands, Patagonia, Argentina
©iStockphoto.com/Eduardo Mariano Rivero
Shamanic Views from National Geographic
See a video about a Paraguayan shaman searching for medicinal cures in the rainforest.
View the photo gallery and read the article about Mongolia's Reindeer people.
Read about an expedition exploring the rock art of Borneo and view the photo gallery, particularly the cave art of a shaman's trek into the spirit world. Visit National Geographic online.

Note: Each issue we plan to post on the website or provide a link to an article or other media with useful information about shamanism or shamanic healing. Check the Articles section for several varied perspectives on shamanism and shamanic healing, many from past issues of Shamanism/The Shamanism Annual, the Foundation's scholarly journal -- one of the exclusive benefits of the Circle of the Foundation.
Handprint ©iStockphoto.com/Scott Cressman
Digging for Shamanic Gold
I got my first glimpse of shamanic treasure when out of curiosity I attended a weekend workshop led by Michael and Sandra Harner of the FSS. For me what I experienced in this work shop seemed exciting and exotic, but had little place in my everyday life.

Fortunately for me within two weeks I met Jack who was actively practicing shamanism in his daily life. With his mentoring encouragement I too began to journey whenever I needed help with making decisions, finding answers that eluded me, and knowing my next best step.

Two years later when I attended Sandra Harner's week night follow up workshops, I was an experienced journeyer traveling regularly to the three worlds. It was while attending those FSS workshops that I set my intention to journey to the Lower World to ask, "What have I been growing all winter long?"

As I entered nonordinary reality I found myself in what manifests for me as "the meadow" of the Lower World. Bison was waiting for me. I greeted him and asked my question. He led me away from the meadow to the shore of a small heart shaped lake surrounded by conifer trees. Bison spoke, "Look at yourself," he said. I was too shy to look at myself, so I looked at him instead; it was easier to behold him, all hairy and big and beautiful. Again he spoke, "Look at yourself," he said. Slowly I shifted my eyes toward my own reflection in the water. Once more Bison spoke. "Corn," he said. When I heard the word "corn" I noticed a little peninsula protruding into the lake from the East. On the peninsula I saw tiny shoots of new corn plants. "Corn!" I said. Bison repeated, "Corn." I thanked him and returned home carrying the image with me.

Waxing Moon
Later that morning I was browsing in a book shop and a book practically jumped off the shelf into my hands. In that book I saw a picture of the same small lake I had visited on my journey.

The lake in the book was in Maine. I went to visit that lake which sits inside the heart of Cadillac Mountain on Mount Desert Island. There I journeyed to ask, "What do I take home by way of inspiration?" In this journey Horse took me to the waxing moon. I thanked Horse pondering still about the corn and now the waxing moon.

One early morning before leaving Maine I drove West, away from the shore looking in the dark for a good spot to await the rising sun. After the dawn, I realized I was lost. Driving along in the early morning light I saw a sign for an herb garden. I followed a gravel road and stopped at a gate. Picking catnip kissed by the morning dew was a woman wearing a straw hat with a pendant hanging from her neck; it was a bone carving of the waxing moon. Later I learned that some herbal students and teachers wear the same bone moon pendants to represent their connection with plants.

I understood then that "corn" was my work and the waxing moon would help my corn to sprout and grow. That morning nine years ago with Bison was the beginning. The "corn" grew into the Sacred Footbaths I administer, the herbal floral and earth remedies I prepare, the classes I teach so others can make their own "medicine" and the love I always carry in my heart.

At the root of all this "corn" lies the shamanic gold that enriches my life and the lives of others who come to me seeking help and healing from the hidden worlds of shamanism. – Submitted by Annabella De Mattei, Berkeley, California. Visit her at www.lunafina.com.

NOTE: "Healing Words" contains helpful practices, ideas and suggestions from shamanic healers, answers to questions of concern to those practicing shamanism, and inspiring stories. FSS presents them as a service to the shamanic community without endorsement; as always, each shamanic healer is responsible for using these ideas in a responsible and ethical manner. If you would like to SUBMIT A HELPFUL TIP, email the Editor. (A few succinct paragraphs, please.)

About FSS
Internationally renowned anthropologist Michael Harner pioneered the return of shamanism and the shamanic journey to contemporary life. In 1985, he founded the Foundation for Shamanic Studies to preserve, study, and transmit shamanic knowledge worldwide. Join the thousands each year who take the Foundation's rigorous training in Core Shamanism, the universal and near universal principles and practices of shamanism not bound to any specific cultural group or perspective.

About the E-Newsletter
The Foundation for Shamanic Studies E-newsletter is issued bimonthly and contains information and articles about shamanism, shamanic healing, and the Foundation's activities. It is designed to offer interesting and practical information for shamanic healers, students, and those interested in shamanism. We welcome your feedback and ideas. Please contact the Editor, Susan Mokelke.

NOTE: You are receiving this email from the Foundation for Shamanic Studies because you are a member-donor or have taken a Foundation course or otherwise indicated your interest. For environmental and economic reasons, FSS will send out less paper communications. To ensure that you continue to receive emails from us, including course schedules and information relevant to the practice of shamanism, add info@shamanism.org to your address book today. You may also update your email address by clicking on the Update Profile/Email Address link below.

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Copyright © 2000-2009 Foundation for Shamanic Studies, a non-profit public charitable and educational organization.

Editor: Susan Mokelke
Foundation for Shamanic Studies